Giant Swallowtail Butterfly

On 29 May Ron Payne, Roz Renfrew and I saw a giant swallowtail butterfly at the Hurd Grassland in Weybridge, where OCAS conducts monthly wildlife walks. Kent McFarland of the Vermont Center for Ecostudies informs us that giant swallowtails first appeared in Vermont in 2010, when two were discovered in the Champlain Valley. He said “In 2011 we had a massive invasion of them into Vermont. Some even reported egg laying and larvae. We pondered if they could overwinter, and waited. They did indeed overwinter. We have had about a half dozen reports, one of 10 individuals, in the western half of the state.” We are aware of a sighting from Benson south of Addison County on 11 May and an additional sighting in Benson of about 15 on 29 May. Ours may be just one of many sightings from Addison County this year.

– Warren King

In Orwell, May 12